Abbott primes Turnbull for future comms minister role

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Abbott primes Turnbull for future comms minister role
Malcolm Turnbull

Right person to give Australians a future broadband network.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has thrown his weight behind Malcolm Turnbull to execute the Coalition's "superfast broadband" plan should it come to power at the September election.

In an address to the National Press Club in Canberra, Abbott said Turnbull was "the right person to give Australians a 21st Century network because he is one of Australia's internet pioneers" — a direct suggestion that Turnbull could land the communications portfolio under a coalition government.

Abbott said the Coalition would not dismantle what NBN Co had already built, but at the same time it wouldn't "throw good money after bad".

"We're committed to super high speed broadband that's affordable for everyone and built sooner rather than later," he said.

"But with so many competing priorities, the last thing Australians need is another $50 billion plus in borrowed money to deliver higher speeds – but only in a decade's time and at about triple the current monthly price."

Abbott provided no further clues about what the coalition's broadband plan might cost, and Turnbull, in an appearance on ABC AM this morning, repeated the line that costing the coalition's policy depended on Labor opening NBN Co's books to reveal the true cost of contractual commitments.

Without that, Turnbull said, the coalition couldn't "put a dollar amount on" its plans.

"We will [just] tell voters that [our plan] will cost substantially less," he said.

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